KUCHING: The 9th International Bornean Frog Race 2021 aims to promote amphibian conservation among the public as well as enhance the livelihoods of local communities and exposure to Borneo’s biodiversity.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi said this during its launching, on Thursday (Aug 26) on Zoom and the university’s Facebook livestream.
“Located in the midst of a tropical and megadiverse region of Borneo, Sarawak is home to countless species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic, are economically valuable, and of conservation importance.
“Research on the island’s biodiversity has been intensifying for the past two-and-a-half decades, undertaken by both local and overseas researchers, generating critical knowledge for human welfare and resource conservation and management.”
Prof Kadim added that since the race was first held in 2012, it had grown in stature and content, attracting participants from all over the world.
He explained that the competition promoted amphibian conservation via an innovative photographic competition.
“The competition also targets our school-going junior citizens and expose them to ideas and concepts of nature conservation, and promote ecotourism locally, regionally and internationally.
“This also includes promoting healthy lifestyles and promote citizen science as a method for both spreading conservation education and collecting valuable scientific data on species occurrences, distributions and other natural history information.
“The competition will start from Sept 1 and end on Nov 29.
“In line with safety protocol associated with the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, the race will have a reduced physical element, however, it promises to be a more inclusive event.
“This permits folk from outside of Sarawak to take part in the competition from the safety of their home or at least home town.
“The virtual race, therefore, is both innovative in its approach and will carry the conservation message of the event far beyond the borders of the state.”
Furthermore, the race will have monthly webinars by leading international specialists of amphibian biology and conservation, as well as a monthly newsletter and winners for outstanding images taken during the month will be announced.
The closing ceremony is planned in December, where winners will be invited at the special event that will feature talks, workshops and exhibition, and generous cash prizes and certificates awarded.